10 Ways To Make Time Blocking Work For The Woman In Ag!
Have you heard of time blocking?
I hadn’t. But as I started looking at different things for my planner this year and looking at scheduling my time differently, I kept seeing this thing called “time blocking“!
Ever curious, I decided to do a little research on it and realized that this scheduling strategy might be the best fit for me.
You know how we always say, “You can’t count on a schedule staying as is, because something in farming or ranching will come up and you’ll have to change your plans!”?
Well, Time Blocking gives you a guideline and structure for scheduling your day, yet has built in flexibility! Remember high school and college? Time blocking is used for the scheduling of those classes.
The concept is that between let’s say, 8 am and 9 am, you know that you’ll have Spanish! When that 9 o’clock bell rings, Spanish is over and the next class or period begins. When the bell rings for that second period that subject is over, and so on. That class or section of time is over. Whether the lesson, assignments, homework were completed, etc. you move on to the next time period and its subject.
The same can work for the daily life of you and I!
Below is a video where I share how I have set up Time Blocking to work for me and 5 of the 10 ways to make time blocking work for you!
Here are 10 ways to make time blocking work for the woman in Ag!
Schedule large enough blocks of time. Don’t short change yourself and make these time blocks too small. In fact, I would aim to give yourself a couple hours. You’re going to give yourself a list of chores to do in each section. Sometimes you’re going to get all of those things completed in that time block, sometimes you will only get a few. Some days you won’t need to get every one of them completed.
The “end time” is just as important as the “start time”. What I found is that when I give myself a clear “end time”, I work that much more quickly and efficiently during that time block. Try it out! I’m sure you’ll have the same result!
Don’t schedule too much with in each time block. That being said, you may find that you can probably schedule more than you realize. Given that specific “end time” and a group of chores to fit into the specific time block, I work much more efficiently and end up fitting more into that time then I realize. However, take a second look before you pile in a ton more items into that time block. Just because you can do more during that time doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to add more during that time!
Write it down. Don’t write it in ink yet, but scribble it down with a pencil on a piece of paper. Then stick that paper on a kitchen cupboard, on your counter, or somewhere that you can easily access, easily see, and easily modify. Try it over the course of a week and adjust as necessary!
Adjust as necessary. There is a rise and fall in agriculture. When the days are long and cold we tend to stick closer to the house. When it’s seeding or calving time we’re rarely at the house. This scheduling strategy will adjust with you no matter what season of life you’re in. Maybe you started working full-time and the only time you have to schedule is in the evening after dinner. That’s fine! Make that time block or two work for you. Don’t feel stuck to using it every day of the week. For me, I use a full day of block schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tuesdays and Thursdays I work in town and I use my time block schedule after I get home from work. I look at the clock and start there in my block scheduling. On Saturdays and Sundays I don’t use it at all.
Just pick up where you left off. You know those days where you get out of bed and you think “All right! I have this whole day to work on just the priorities that I have!”? You know that’ll be the day that the hubby breaks down off the farm, the kids will be sick at school, or something will happen that cause you to have to change your plans. That’s fine! No biggie! Pick up your sick kid from school, get them settled on the couch with a movie and the puke bucket, look at the clock, check the time block that you are currently in and get back on schedule!
It’s not just about chores! I don’t want you to get the idea that this is only about chores or only about being productive. Don’t forget to schedule in some self-care time for you. I don’t care if it’s 15 minutes. I don’t care if it’s two hours. Make sure to include that time! One of my time blocks includes “take a nap“. I don’t always need a nap, but there are some days I just need to lay down for 20 to 30 minutes. Maybe for you, it’s pouring a hot cup of coffee, sitting down and looking through a magazine?! Whatever it is, make sure that self-care is on the priority list and within your schedule!
If you have an online or side business, schedule it too! I have two hours set aside in the morning for blogging, preparing speeches, creating new items for my community etc. Two hours isn’t always enough, so I could make that time block more like three hours. But, I’ve found that I sometimes, I finish up my tasks from the previous time block a little early, so I’m able to start my “Rural Sisterhood” time block early. So for now, I’ll leave it the way it is.
Consider your natural “rhythms“. I know this might sound a little hokey, but there are times during the day where we work more efficiently than others. I am considerably more efficient in the morning. So I have scheduled my most mind-challenging tasks, and/or the tasks I like the least, in the morning. I know that the afternoon is when I need to do my outside chores or the chores that I feel the best about, the chores that are going to move the needle forward in my world.
Enjoy! You’ve put in the hard work! You know you’re going to adjust as necessary, so enjoy the process.